Cro-Magnons vs. Neanderthals

By Begala, Paul | Newsweek, December 24, 2012 | Go to article overview

Cro-Magnons vs. Neanderthals


Begala, Paul, Newsweek


Byline: paul begala

There's a family feud going on in the GOP.

The holidays are about family. And family, of course, is about fighting. As Uncle George says: God gave us family so we wouldn't have to fight with strangers.

Right now the Republicans are having a family feud. And, keep in mind, Republicans are heavily armed. When Democrats fight, it's with a sternly worded op-ed in The New York Review of Books. Republicans prefer a sawed-off shotgun. The Paleoliths are fighting the Neoliths, and the Cro-Magnons are fighting the Neanderthals. And I couldn't be happier.

Change is always painful, but smart Republicans look at the numbers and know they have no choice. They can blame the pathetically lame candidacy of Mitt Romney if they like, and they have a point. I'm pretty sure Romney's mere presence in Manny Pacquiao's dressing room caused the fighter to lose. But Romney was a symptom, not the problem. There are larger forces at work that have caused the GOP to lose the popular vote in five of the last six elections.

Because it's the Christmas spirit and I am full a[umlaut]of the milk of human kindness, allow me to suggest four issues on which the GOP must moderate, modernize, and modify:

Taxes. As the president has said, taxes are going up on the rich, one way or the other. One way would protect 98 percent of Americans from an income-tax hike; the other would drag 100 percent into higher brackets. Smart Republicans know they have to cut their losses on this, and the sooner the better. They can still be the party of low taxes--they just have to stop being the party that will hold the middle class hostage to serve the rich.

Immigration. The Republicans need to take it off the table. Pass Obama's immigration reform--and reintroduce themselves to millions of Latinos and Asian-Americans who think GOP stands for Get Outta Our Party. Former president George W. Bush recently called on his party to moderate on immigration. Let me put it this way: when you're dumber than George W. Bush on an issue ...

Gay marriage. Be as liberal as that old lefty Dick Cheney. Or at least say, like Obama, that it should be left up to the states. The GOP has gone from losing young voters by 1 percent in 2000 to losing the youth vote by 24 this year. This is a gateway issue for young people. …

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